By Jacob Sparling
The music of DJ Honey Dijon echoed through the halls of Flash Factory in New York City as shirtless men, sporting six packs and kerchiefs color-coordinated to their jockstraps danced until the early aughts of the following morning. The lights flashed brilliantly, illuminating a dance floor rife with men pleasuring each other through dance, a deep kiss or more as your eyes traveled from the center of the floor and extend towards the unknown of the back corner.
Each of the attendees expecting, knowing from experience, that they’ll be heading home with someone to continue to explore the pleasures that brought them there in the first place.
It wasn’t the first time I found myself in the center of the room, dancing to the fabulous music and connecting with the beautiful men found there. It was the first time, however, that I found love on the dance floor. Shirtless, dancing with a wide smile, his eyes met mine from across the room. As if the floor caved beneath us, we soon fell into each other’s arms and the spotlight rested on us until the last call was uttered.
Leaving the autonomy of single life which permits oneself to explore any avenues that become presented, and entering a relationship where exclusivity opens a deeper level of intimacy with a single individual it made me wonder: What is the gay male experience and is it universal? Are we a collective web of open relationships and hookups bound together by some sense of fraternity? Are our sex lives, our personal lives and our love lives definitively less intimate because of it?
We define ourselves a lot by what we do; doctors, lawyers, retail workers, designers, artists. Outside of work, we find ourselves further defined by who we associate with and how we express ourselves in those relationships. Often, especially in gay male dominate circles, those relationships are expressed physically. Do we lose some sense of self identity when we enter an intimate exclusive relationship and end sexual intimacy with others?
The answer to that lies in the dynamic you and your partner share. The answer, really, is defined by what intimacy means to you and your partner. There’s a romance some find in seeing the man they love deriving pleasure from being passed among many different men in a night, only to return to their shared bed to make raw, passionate, love together and fall asleep in each other’s arms. There’s a romance others find in making videos with others to be shared between partners. Others simply want to invite a third to the bedroom. Do it. Do it all.
What it all boils down to is this: we are dynamic, intimate beings. We love sex. We love love. If you and your partner find a greater sense of intimacy, a higher sense of pleasure in allowing each other to explore together or separately, explore. If you don’t, don’t.
Remember that each of your desires are ever-evolving and what you find works best for now, may not be what’s right for later. Be comfortable in talking about it and open to what your lover has to say.
If you need a motto to go by, perhaps consider what a partner and I found defines our love and trust for each other best: “I trust you to seek what brings you joy, and I ask you to trust that I’ll do the same.”